Hello St. Paul’s,

Our regathering survey closed on Saturday, with 334 responses, 12 of them in Spanish. 254 respondents completed the survey. Thank you!

The information you shared is extremely helpful as the Regathering Task Force, consisting of the executive staff and cathedral officers, discerns how best we can offer ministry as this pandemic continues.

Here are some highlights of the survey data:

A large majority indicated that you would be at best unsure if not very unlikely to attend worship services in person with the restrictions currently in force.

About a third indicated that you might be interested in a new, non-traditional service, possibly outside.

More than half of you would be willing to make an advance reservation in order to attend a service.

Most of you indicated that you would continue to attend our online services for the time being.

Most of you indicated that you would consider returning to in-person activities only when an effective vaccine or treatment is available and/or there have been no new cases reported locally for several months.

The top worship factors that are most important for you in returning, for those who completed the survey, are the resumption of the Eucharist, then choral singing and congregational singing, and then the relaxation of restrictions. If you include partially completed surveys the relaxation of restrictions jumps to the top spot.

When we asked you what non-worship activities would be a priority for you, outreach and especially Showers of Blessings were top of the list, followed by adult formation including forums and then Women Together.

We are just starting to draft our plan for regathering, but these data, combined with the recent bump in COVID cases in our county are guiding us to be extremely cautious about setting a date for returning to in-person worship.

I feel confident in saying that we will continue our online offerings indefinitely, even if ultimately we have to reduce the number of online services that we offer on Sundays. When we do start to worship in person, we will likely offer one very simple prayer service on a Sunday, and depending on how that goes, we will then think about offering the Eucharist. I’m happy to say that we have already resumed a limited outreach ministry, with donations of clothing being received and distributed every Monday morning.

I’m still hopeful that we will be able to offer a couple of low-impact in-person events in the next month or so. We want to give you an opportunity to say hello, pick up a prayer book and hymnal to use at home, and also pick up some holy water for your personal devotions.
One other thing: many of you have heard me speak of the desirability of permanently removing the pews from our nave and replacing them with more flexible seating options. You’ll remember how spectacular the nave looked without pews last December when we celebrated our 150th anniversary. Here are a couple of photos to jog your memory. [share screen]

This question has come up again in part because of the need to limit capacity in the nave and the cleaning requirements: as they stand, the pews are not in good shape to withstand regular soakings of disinfectant. With the longterm changes that are being forced on us by the economic consequences of the pandemic, we must seriously consider how we can best use our beautiful space to support our mission and that may well mean providing much more flexibility. Chapter is thinking and praying about this, and I welcome your thoughts.

Meanwhile I look forward to seeing you on Sunday, when we will continue our forum on Waking Up White and also enjoy a Greatest Hits version of the choir’s annual Spring Concert.

Stay well and wash your hands!


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